Wednesday, March 31, 2010


That double-secret coin flip commissioner Roger Goodell conducted a couple of weeks ago supposedly provided a compromise in the honor of opening the Giants' and Jets' new stadium. The Giants will open the regular season there, and the Jets were supposed to open up the preseason.

But wait. The Jets won't get the preseason opening all to themselves. In a break with tradition, the Giants will be there, too. The just-announced preseason schedule pits the stadium co-habitants in the exhibition opener on Monday night, Aug. 16, on ESPN. The Giants and Jets traditionally play each other the third preseason game, which is always the exhibition that comes closest to a real game with real starters.

But this switch is kind of interesting considering Jets owner Woody Johnson's outburst over how the commissioner conducted the private coin flip. The Jets' owner, without actually using the words, hinted that Goodell rigged the decision to favor the Giants. One might see this, then, as the NFL's way of sticking it to Johnson for his ill-advised candor.

The fans actually get cheated in all this, since Week 1 of the preseason usually features the starters playing for a couple of series before they hand things off to the second-teamers and soon-to-be-departed kids for the final three quarters or so. So don't expect any of the spirited play you've come to expect from the typical Giants-Jets matchups.

Well, at least the schedulemaker kept it as a Jets home game. That should pacify Woody. Or maybe not.

The exact dates and times for the rest of the Giants' preseason have yet to be announced. But they will host the Steelers the following week, and will travel to Baltimore for the third game. Their last game will be Thursday, Sept. 2, at home against the Pats. They finish up against New England for the last six years, with Bill Belichick always providing a pulsating, exciting mix of third-teamers and people pulled from the lines at Dunkin Donuts to run out the preseason.

None of their preseason opponents appear on the regular season schedule. That schedule will be announced at some point in April.

Wonder if Woody will have cooled off by then.


Another Prospect Of Interest

Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis didn't participate in the school's Pro Day three weeks ago because of a hamstring problem. But yesterday, he did all the drills requested of him during a private workout, which the Giants were conspicuously a part.

It's no surprise that the Giants were well-represented among the 11 teams that observed, since Rutgers is just a short drive from the Meadowlands. Besides, there appears to be some genuine interest in the 6-foot-5, 323-pounder, NFL Draft Scout's fourth-best rated tackle. The natural left tackle is not expected to slip past the top half of the first round, which puts him right in the Giants' sights at No. 15.

Agent Sunny Shah said Davis is "100 percent healthy" now.

Won't be surprised if the Giants have him in for a visit. He wouldn't be counted against their 30 allowed visits because teams can have an unlimited number of players in from local schools.


Dreamers Days

I know this is a Giants blog. But I also know that some of you guys have dreams. Maybe some of you want to be captains of industry. And others might want to parlay that not-so-long ago small-school college career into a little paycheck.

With that in mind, the UFL (you know, where former quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer went to lead the Hartford Colonials) is holding open tryouts for all but one of their teams. As a service to all you poets and dreamers out there, here's a list of dates. Oh, and bring your own cleats.

Las Vegas Locos -- April 17 in Phoenix, May 9 in Los Angeles, and May 15 in Las Vegas.
Florida Tuskers -- May 8 in Miami, May 15 in Orlando, and June 26 in Atlanta.
Hartford Colonials -- May 8 in Petersburg, Va.

I'll expect a full rundown of the workout if any of you guys try out. And if you do make a team, just send 25 percent of your paycheck my way.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Real Interest

Looks like the Giants have some real interest in Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. Or do they?

McClain told Ralph V. on Sirius Radio today that he has a visit scheduled with the Giants for April 12. As in all these matters, this could just be a smokescreen to hide the organization's interest in some other prospect, like Clemson RB C.J. Spiller, or it could be a real intent to study McClain further to see if he can transition himself from a 3-4 linebacking stud into a potential middle linebacker in the Giants' 4-3 alignment. Or it could be a little bit of both.

You just never know with this stuff.


Good Story, No Shot

Here's a good story from the New York Times about a new blood test that can detect the presence of the banned substance HGH (Human Growth Hormone) for up to 14 days. If the test proves at all reliable, that's a big breakthrough, since the current blood test can only detect HGH over the last 24 to 48 hours.

Problem is, it's a blood test, and there's no way the NFLPA is going to put its stamp on a test that involves pulling blood from a vein with needle and syringe unless it's close to 100 percent accurate. So everybody is going to be watching this test very carefully.

The ideal thing would be for someone to come up with a urine test. That's how they test for steroids and other banned substances now. But the only way to test for HGH at present is through the blood.

Personally, I'd like to see this become part of the NFL's testing program. But it'll be a hard sell with the NFLPA. I remember a few years ago when the late NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw said he'd never give his nod to a blood test. To paraphrase, he said that people saw his players as big, tough men who shouldn't mind getting their fingers pricked for a greater good.

"Well, we don't want to get our fingers pricked," he said.

It's an issue worth watching.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Some People Just Like Quarterbacks

So that's why I'm putting up's draft guru Gil Brandt's assessment of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford's workout today. He called it the best he's seen in 21 years since Troy Aikman.

Keep in mind that the Giants aren't in the market for a first-round quarterback. Bradford's probably going to the Rams with the first pick, anyway. But it's just interesting that the kid, in his first significant throwing effort since shoulder surgery, basically wowed the crowd with a 62-of-63 performance in the scripted section. So here's Brandt's writeup as found on NFL Draft Scout.

Sam Bradford’s workout Monday in front of representatives for all 32 NFL teams at Oklahoma’s pro day almost left me speechless. And that’s saying something. Bradford threw more than 100 passes during the workout and, in my estimation, didn’t have one that was uncatchable. He moved around well, including throwing on the run out of the pocket, and went through the entire route tree. It really was a treat to watch, and I think everyone here was in awe of Bradford’s performance. In fact, he put on the best quarterback workout by a draft prospect that I’ve seen since I watched a private workout Troy Aikman put on for us with the Cowboys in California. If Bradford is feeling the effects of his shoulder injury or is experiencing any weakness, there were no indications of that. He threw with velocity during the entire workout. Terry Shea, a former college and NFL coach who’s working with Bradford as a quarterback consultant, told me they’ve been together for nine weeks. The first five weeks of workouts, Bradford didn’t even throw. They only worked on footwork because Bradford hadn’t been cleared by doctors yet. I would imagine that two weeks from now, Bradford’s arm will be even stronger than what we saw. And it was very strong Monday.


Some Video

This might give us all a better feel for the interest surrounding C.J. Spiller. Looks pretty electric to me.

Better to watch this with the sound off. It ain't Mozart.


Spiller Rumor

Whispers around the blogosphere indicate there's a big race building for Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, and the Giants are in it.

Spiller's stock has apparently risen to top-10 status, so the Giants and their main competition in this thing, the No. 12-sitting Dolphins, would have to work a weighty trade to get into position for Spiller, who many say has Reggie Bush-like qualities. Still, it's possible he's risen into top-five territory, which would make a trade-up that much more expensive.

After Patti Traina and I talked to DJ Ware the other night on Ed Valentine's Blog Talk Radio show, I started to think getting Spiller wouldn't be a bad idea. Like Bush, he can split out, which is something nobody in the Giants' backfield right now is really capable of doing. He'd be a rock-solid passing option, an added dimension to two good runners in Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

He'd certainly be a best-available pick, so you couldn't really complain even though, in my mind at least, middle linebacker and defensive tackle are still major need positions.

Things have gotten interesting as we inch toward April. But haven't they always?


Saturday, March 27, 2010

More Visiting Prospects

As usual, Mikey G. is right up on the list of prospects who will visit the Giants over the next couple of weeks. Here's his story on William and Mary's defensive end/linebacker Adrian Tracy, along with a bunch of other names.

Keep in mind that under NFL rules, teams can visit with as many "local" products as they wish. For instance, the Lissemore kid we talked about yesterday comes from New Jersey, so he falls into that unlimited catagory. But they can only work out 30 prospects who fall outside the local radii the NFL dictates for each team. Tracy, therefore, becomes the first of those non-local visits that are scheduled.

Tracy is probably a late-round consideration. At 248 pounds, he'll need to put a little meat on his bones for the defensive line. But he did have 12 sacks as a senior.


A Guy To Root For

Here's a little something on a guy you can root for. Amid the players at the UMass Pro Day Thursday, a gathering that included an offensive tackle in Vladimir Ducasse that may well be in the Giants' second-round cluster, was a guy in an MIT jersey.

It's not unusual for a school to invite prospects from smaller, surrounding institutes to join in their showcases.

His name was DeRon Brown, a 5-foot-6 running back who averaged more than 150 yards on the ground for the 1-8, NCAA-Division III MIT squad. He's got virtually no shot at being drafted, and even an invitation to the training camp as a college free agent might qualify as a seismic event. But the senior computer engineering major gave it his best shot, anyway.

"I’d rather try than look back five years from now and say, ‘What if I didn’t give it a shot?’ I did my best," he said. "I’m glad I did. If it doesn’t work, I have an MIT degree to get me through the rest of my life."

If somehow he does get his dream, he'll certainly be the smartest guy in camp.

Good luck to him is what I say.

The 6-foot-5, 332-pound Ducasse, meanwhile, actually improved on some of his combine numbers with a 27-inch vertical leap and bettering his broad jump by more than a foot at 8-feet-8. His stock seems to be rising, and some services have him going as high as the low first round.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Visit

National Football Post reporting that William and Mary defensive tackle Sean Lissemore will work out with the Giants.

The 6-3 ½, 298-pounder had an impressive pro day on March 17, where 22 teams appeared for the workouts. Lissemore ran a 4.85 40-yard-dash and posted a 30.0 vertical jump and 9-8 broad jump. He also put up 36 reps on the bench press.

NFL Draft Scout rates him No. 28 among defensive tackle prospects and projects him either as a seventh-rounder or a free agent.


Reason No. 3,591

One more reason for Giants fans to be thankful they have Eli Manning as a quarterback, despite his occasionally erratic passes.

Stability. The guy's tough, plays through injury, and is always there. Big contrast to what's happening in Philadelphia with the eminent Donovan McNabb right now.

There's a guy Philly hated from the day they drafted him. And now, it looks like the Eagles organization itself has gotten on board with the boo-birds. After watching McNabb's play decline through injuries the past few years, they're now trying to trade him. Buffalo and Oakland seem interested, though McNabb would rather put a needle through his eye before he plays in either spot. Not that it's his decision to make. But it's obvious the Eagles see the man that took them to a Super Bowl as expendable now.

Regardless of how this episode ends up, it's hard to imagine McNabb playing in an Eagles jersey in 2010. Which means transition. Which means a potential downswing in that 11-5 franchise's fortunes. Considering they've already gotten rid of spent running back Brian Westbrook, one wonders how much that offense can take.

Then again, the Eagles' losses could be the Giants' gain. Program consistency is a wonderful thing.


Won't Go Quietly

One of the objectives of the Giants coaching staff this year is to squeeze Will Beatty into the starting lineup at either left or right tackle. So expect a spirited battle at Beatty's natural left tackle spot with incumbent David Diehl.

It could turn into one of the most interesting fights of training camp, as Diehl promised he wouldn't go quietly.

Here's Mikey G's story from yesterday.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blog Talk Replay

For those who just can't get enough of me, here's the replay of my appearance on Blog Talk Radio with Patti Traina. We had a good time interviewing DJ Ware and chatting on a wide range of things, so give it a listen.


Good News For Retirees

Here's a step forward for retired players, as spearheaded by former Giants defensive line great George Martin.

Martin, the executive director of the NFL Alumni Association, has established along with the NFL a program that will make neurological specialists at five major hospitals available to former players who are suffering from brain-related maladies.

Those who have insurance will pick up the cost of the specialists. But for those who can't, grants from the NFL Player Care Foundation will cover some, and sometimes all, of the bill.

Here's the whole story.

Before anybody lets the NFL and the NFLPA off the hook for their basic longtime indifference to retired players' physical and mental needs, remember that this is just a starting point. There's still a long way to go, and it would be nice if the new CBA includes an expanded and extensive benefits package for the retired guys.

But for now, this is something the old guys didn't have before. And that's a good thing.


Duke Linebacker

The National Football Post is reporting that Duke linebacker Vincent Rey will work out for the Giants April 8. He'll also have a pre-draft visit with the 49ers in North Carolina at some point next week.

Rey, 6-foot, 240, from Far Rockaway, NY, recorded 90 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack for the 5-7 Blue Demons last year. For his career, he had 431 tackles, seven forced fumbles, seven sacks, and three picks. He ran a 4.54 and 4.58 40 at Duke's Pro Day on March 22, and also put up a vertical leap of 38.5 inches. He benched 225 pounds 20 times.


Take A Break From NCAA

In case you're still basketballed-out after last week's NCAA tournament, how about taking a break and tuning in to Blog Talk Radio tonight at 8, when yours truly will be subbing for the usual co-host Ed Valentine. I'll be chatting with Inside Football's Patti Traina AND Giants running back DJ Ware.

Patti and I will also be taking calls at 646-915-8863 (the number's also on the website) and chat questions after the interviews.

Given how my other radio spots have gone, this should be an amusing, dare I say historic hour of listening. Probably better than Murrow's broadcasts from the Battle of Britain, at the very least.

So get the popcorn ready. Tune in. Give us a listen. And pass the word to your friends.


Tuck Coming Along

Defensive end Justin Tuck didn't want to have surgery on the torn left labrum, incurred when the Cowboys' Flozell Adams tripped him intentionally in the second game of the season. But he figured he'd better take the doctors' advice and have it.

Now, he said he's coming along "ahead of schedule" in his rehab, but he won't say whether he'll be 100 percent by training camp.

Still, he's doing what he needs to do in the offseason conditioning program. Here's the video.


Gerris In The Middle

Oft-injured linebacker Gerris Wilkinson has been told through "a third party" that he's going to see a lot of work in the middle linebacker spot this training camp, and will certainly be in the mix to permanently replace the departed Antonio Pierce.

GM Jerry Reese did say at the owners meeting this week that he believes his roster is already peopled with potential replacements for Pierce. This makes it obvious he thinks Wilkinson could be one of them.

Of course, Wilkinson will have much company. Jonathan Goff started there last year, as did Chase Blackburn. And then there's always Bryan Kehl, or a future free agent pickup, or maybe a draft pick like Rolando McClain.

Competition is nothing new to him, of course. Staying healthy for a whole year might be. Wilkinson lasted only nine games before hitting the injured reserve list Nov. 11 with a dislocated wrist. But, if nothing else, Wilkinson will go into a position where he's had some familiarity, even if it goes back to his college days at Georgia Tech.

"I played there my first two years in college," Wilkinson said. "I'd love to play there."

Wilkinson said he hasn't had any in-depth chats with new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, only enough for Fewell to tell him that "we have some new stuff coming in,'' according to Wilkinson. But he has watched some of Fewell's scheming from Buffalo.

"It's not so much different than most 4-3 teams," Wilkinson said. "With the Mike linebackers, it's really similar coverages. Nothing too crazy."

Still, the man that has played both the strong and weakside spots is thinking middle right now. He said his range and sideline-to-sideline pursuit ability should enable him to make inroads there. And he said he wouldn't be adverse to wearing the microphone helmet, though weakside starter Michael Boley said he fully expects to continue in the command role he took over when Pierce went down with a neck injury before the Atlanta game Nov. 22.

"Just knowing the defense and knowing where everybody needs to be, I've been here for a while now and I know the guys," Wilkinson said. "From a leadership standpoint, that doesn't hurt."

He'll take what he learned from Pierce over his first four years.

"Ever since I got here, AP was the leader in that linebacker room," he said. "I tried to pick up everything I could on how you study films, how you prepare for games, how you study your opponent. For me, mainly, the mental side is what I tried to learn from him.

"It was hard to get information from him. He wasn't a super-open guy, but I tried to get as much as I could."

As for the present and future company on the depth chart, he's ready to handle that, too.

"It's nothing new," Wilkinson said. "I've been battling for a different spot every year, with free agents coming in and drafted guys coming in. This is nothing new. It's up to the coaches."

Actually, it will be up to Wilkinson, one of the few special teams standouts last year, to take that step up.


O'Hara Noncommittal

Got Giants NFLPA player rep Shaun O'Hara talking about the glacially slow collective bargaining negotiations and the efforts to avoid a 2011 lockout. He didn't sound overly pessimistic about it, but to say he was optimistic about a satisfactory resolution before the owners take drastic measures would be stretching it.

A lot of speculation as to a bargaining spur has been centered around the owners' plan to discuss extending the just-passed playoff overtime modifications into the regular season. O'Hara said that could well turn into a chip the players will use.

"There's a lot of things we're going to focus on," O'Hara said. "We're always trying to find ways to shorten the game, so that's something we're going to have to, as players, we're going to have to deal with. The good thing is, there's not a lot of overtime games in a season. I think I've had four in my career, so it's not something that's taken place every single week."

He said there hasn't been much movement between owners and players in the last year.

"I can't really say the gap's narrowed," O'Hara said. "The important thing is dialogue, continually trying to find out what is their standpoint. As a player, you try to look at it from their standpoint, and you hope that they're looking at it from our standpoint. We all realize what's made this game as popular as it is now is revenue sharing and things like that."


Osi's Smiling

Have some player access today, and one of the first guys we ran into this morning was Osi Umenyiora. Just like Tom Coughlin said at the owners meeting yesterday, the defensive end was at the offseason workout session, all bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and smiling.

But was he really happy? You'll see by this video that his unresolved issues of the offseason probably haven't come to a satisfactory conclusion for him. Not that he said anything outright. In fact, most of the questions were answered with a polite no comment. But the silences between those lines indicated, at least to me, that those conversations with Coughlin, Jerry Reese, and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell were anything but pacifying.

One of the most telling gaps came when he was asked whether Reese's contention that there was no way Umenyiora would be traded sat well with the former Pro Bowler.

"Am I happy?" Umenyiora said. "I have no comment on that."

We'll just have to see what happens in these next few weeks before the draft. But for now, he's here and he's working.

Here's the interview.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dressed For Success

I know you've all been waiting for this announcement.

Yes, it's finally happened. The Giants and the Joseph Abboud clothing outfit announced a corporate partnership today.

For those of you who actually attend games in the new Meadowlands Stadium, you'll see the Joseph Abboud brand on the many suite-level video monitors during the pre-game period, and you'll even get a special event or two with the company.

Get ready for a few phone calls or e-mails, though. As part of the agreement, the Giants will make their 160,000-plus fan list available to Abboud so the company can direct-market its product. I know how much I like those marketing e-mails and dinnertime phone calls from telemarketers. Can't get enough.

Abboud will also clothe Tom Coughlin, as it does with most of the league's coaches.

Me? I get my stuff at Kohl's. $125 for a suit and two pair of pants. Can't get hurt.


Tollefson Signs

Defensive end Dave Tollefson signed his second-round tender and is attending the offseason workouts. DT Barry Cofield and LB Gerris Wilkinson have yet to sign their tenders, but are still working out after signing injury waivers.

This is no big deal, folks. Bet that all nine Giants who received restricted tenders will eventually sign them. And it's common practice for an unsigned player to attend the workouts, providing he has signed an injury waiver that protects him in case he drops a free weight on his foot or something silly like that. Because of that, I'll be surprised if I hear that more than two or three guys aren't attending the program absent a medical excuse.


Contingency Plans

Safety Kenny Phillips declared on his blog last week that "I feel like I could play tomorrow." And Jerry Reese said earlier this week from the owners meeting that Phillips is well on his way to begin a running program.

Be that as it may, Tom Coughlin apparently isn't waiting around to see if Phillips can speed back to health. He's planning contingencies, one of which might necessarily be placing new free agent acquisition Antrel Rolle in Phillips' spot until Phillips proves he can do the job.

Coughlin said today at the owners meeting that Phillips is "still limited," according to a Newday report. He said he hopes Phillips is ready by the start of the season, but he's planning out his options in case that doesn't happen. Which means to me that Rolle would start next to Michael Johnson, at least to start things off, if Phillips needs more time coming back from the tricky microfracture surgery that sidelined him after the first game.

Coughlin also told Newsday that he had spoken to Nick Saban about first-round middle linebacker prospect Rolando McClain, a sure sign the Giants at least have some interest in him.


We get the players tomorrow at their offseason conditioning program. I wouldn't be surprised to see Osi Umenyiora there, since Coughlin also reported that the once-disgruntled pass rusher appears much less gruntled and has been attending the workouts "with a smile on his face."

That's good, because Umenyiora had pitifully little leverage in his offseason attempts to gain back his starting job. Maybe he realized that rhetoric rarely trumps productivity in his particular line of work.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Osi Will Stay

At least according to GM Jerry Reese, who spent some time on Sirius Radio at the owners meeting. Reese said he fully expects Osi Umenyiora to be a major part of the team in 2010 despite Umenyiora's offseason grousing.

“Well, you know, if you guys can remember, when I first got hired as GM, Michael Strahan came in and said ‘You know what? I’m not playing,’” Reese said. “So I’ve been through that from the very beginning. I call it ‘offseason chatter.’ Almost every team there’s one or two players you hear some chatter in that respect.

“Osi and I had some good conversations. I expect Osi to be back and be a huge part of what we’re doing.”


Overtime Change

The rules change for playoff and Super Bowl overtimes went from proposal to law today as the owners voted 28-4 to adopt the Competition Committee's recommendation. And apparently they thought enough of it that they'll discuss it further at the May owner's meeting for purposes of employing it for the regular season, too.

You'll remember the committee came up with a format that will end the game after the first possession only in the event of a touchdown. If the first team scores a field goal, the opponent then gets a chance. If the opponent ties with a field goal, the game goes into true sudden death.

Only the Bills, Vikings, Ravens, and Bengals voted no, a big switch from last week when it was thought the measure didn't have the 24 votes to pass. The Giants, who engaged in the league's first overtime game in 1958 against the Colts, favored from the start the first overtime overhaul since that game.

Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said they kept the rules restricted to the postseason because of the ramifications.

"Part of the reason we have different rules is we have different consequences," McKay said. "The consequences in the postseason are, go home if you don't win. In the regular season, we have 15 other games."


Players and Owners

For all who are fascinated by what I consider rather dry labor issues that could result in a 2011 lockout, this is a story by's Jim Trotter that tells why the players support union boss DeMaurice Smith and outlines their goals in the current negotiations.

Don't think you need me to report that the talks haven't gone anywhere as of yet. But it is interesting to see the shift to Smith's policy of player inclusiveness, as opposed to the remote way the late Gene Upshaw ran the NFLPA.

And just to balance things off, here's something from the NFL Labor site that shows something of how the players will suffer from this uncapped season. Those performance-based pay boosts we talked about a few days ago only come in capped seasons, so this year the players will have to work for straight pay.

Not that any of them need a fund-raiser to survive, but everybody likes free money. And those little checks won't be coming in the mail this year.

Note that C.C. Brown ranked fifth on that performance-based all-time list at $783,366 worth of extra pay. Must be because of all those receivers he chases. Michael Johnson was eight at $766,392, and Michael Boley was 11th at $732,622.

Again, if you ask me, both sides deserve a slap in the head for their inability to split up an $8 billion business so that both players and owners benefit.


About The Draft

According to Frank Cooney of NFL Draft Scout and CBS Sports, this year's draft is not only going to be big, but fast.

Here's Cooney's piece that breaks down the times and distances of the top performers at this year's NFL scouting combine. In it, he notes that one of the favorites on this blog, Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, tied a combine record in the 20-yard dash. The mark was originally set by Tennessee's Chris Johnson, and we all know how explosive that guy is.

As for the big guys, six offensive tackles, five defensive tackles, and five defensive ends all showed first-round potential. So, for purposes of a Giants blog, there should be plenty of front-line options for them at No. 15 if they choose to go in that direction. Cooney said this could be the draft of the century so far.

I'm counting on all you drafniks out there to either agree or disagree. Are you guys psyched about the general depth and talent of this one?


Boothe Still In

Here's a good story by Mike Eisen of about reserve guard Kevin Boothe, Cornell graduate and the only Giant left standing in the NCAA tournament.

He showed his Big Red pride this week by wearing a Cornell t-shirt to his offseason conditioning session yesterday.

"A few guys were giving me a hard time as I paraded around in my Cornell T-shirt," Boothe said. "I let them know this is one of the few times Cornell can be on top of the world in the Giants locker room and in sports."

He should make the most of it. Cornell gets top-seeded Kentucky Thursday. But, hey, good for the 2006 graduate to have made it this far.


Monday, March 22, 2010


The NFL revealed its list of compensatory picks for this year's draft today, and the Giants received -- wait for it...

Nothing. Nada. Zippo.

No surprise, since they signed more free agents last year than they lost.

The formula for awarding comp picks is a lot more complicated than that, of course. But suffice to say the Giants now go into the draft no better than they did a day ago. Which means they have seven picks, one in each round.


Landed Safely

Discarded cornerback Kevin Dockery and tight end Darcy Johnson found a safe landing spot in St. Louis, according to the organization's Twitter account.

Neither restricted player was given a tender offer, meaning they were free to sign with any team without compensation.

That gives the Rams three former Giants, with unrestricted DT Fred Robbins the first to come onboard this year. Remember, too, that last season they brought over safety James Butler in free agency. So former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has quite a reunion going on there.


On Eric Berry

Here's an interesting perspective from Sports Illustrated's Peter King on Tennessee safety Eric Berry, the guy who is rated the best safety in this year's draft. King spoke to Falcons GM Tom Dimitroff, who had discussed the merits of taking Berry in the top-five with his friend, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, who happens to be sitting fifth this year. Pioli, while acknowledging Berry's tremendous talents, warned Dimitroff of his reluctance to take safeties high.

It's not an uncommon philosophy, and is certainly one shared by Jerry Reese. But here's an interesting dilemma. If Berry indeed falls out of the top-10 and is there for the Giants' taking at 15, or even within reasonable trade distance, he might well be the best athlete available. Would it then be worth taking him, even in light of a safety chart that has a comebacking Kenny Phillips and free-agent pickup Antrel Rolle headlining what was a very poor field last year?

Phillips, of course, came with the 31st pick of the 2008 draft. The last first-round safety the Giants drafted before him was the multi-talented Shaun Williams with the 24th pick in 1998. The problem with Williams was that he did so many things well that the Giants never really learned how to use him. As a result, he got bounced all over the place and was never as effective as he should have been. And now, we all know about Phillips' arthritic left knee and the microfracture surgery he hopes will solve it.

So I ask you, if Berry falls to a best-available option, would you draft him? After reading King's piece, I'd probably take a shot with him because, coming off last season's mess, the Giants can never have too much depth there.


Just Didn't Get It

Here's a story about one of the Super Bowl XXV heroes who now has to spend extended time in jail because he skipped out to watch his Heisman Trophy-winning son play in person.

It's sad, not because Mark Ingram, Sr., is being made to pay for his crimes, but because he just never quite got that being a former NFL star doesn't excuse one from the law. Now, he may well never see his son play pro ball, save for a few glimpses on the cellblock TV.


Special Day

Yeah, I know. I'm a little late. But this was a special day for me. I won't tell you exactly why because it's of a personal nature. But I'll just say this, in the way of what I've turned into an annual public service announcement.

When the doctor says "Get a test," do it. Could save your life.

Be back in a few.


Saturday, March 20, 2010


According to the website, the Giants might be interested in somebody from Linebacker U.

That's Penn State to you and me, and the guy is Sean Lee, a linebacker who ran in a mid-4.6 time at the Nittany Lions' recent Pro Day. He has a workout scheduled with the Giants, as well as Dallas, Arizona, Atlanta, and Indianapolis. The Giants will have to take a very close look at him physically, as he missed the entire 2008 season with a torn right ACL, and was hampered in 2009 with a left ACL sprain. Still made second-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior.

"I think each time I work out, I prove I'm healthy and 100 percent," the 6-2, 239-pound Lee said. "I think I've shown I can come back from an injury. It's a big concern, and it should be. I haven't been healthy the last two years."

Looks like a down-the-line kind of guy to me, though one scouting service has him as a second or third-rounder. How about you?


Friday, March 19, 2010

Waiting On Brown

The Giants will probably want to see how running back Andre Brown is progressing from the surgery that ended his rookie season in training camp before they pull the trigger on any running back in the draft.

But if they decide one is needed to fill out a backfield already populated by Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and DJ Ware, a second-day pick (remember, the draft is three days now -- First round, April 22; Second and Third rounds, April 23, and rounds four through seven April 24) who might be of some interest is Montario Hardesty of Tennessee.

The guy wasn't invited to the Combine, so the Vols' Pro Day on Wednesday was the scouts' first chance to clock him. The senior rushed for 1,345 yards and 13 touchdowns this year, the fourth-best yardage season ever by a Tennessee back.

At 5-11, 226, he's gained favorable comparisons to the Cowboys' Marion Barber and the Redskins' Clinton Portis. "I grew up a big fan of Walter Payton," he said. "But what I try and do is take all the things that I do well and let those show in the field.''

He got some attention after running a 4.49 40 and benching 21 reps at 225 pounds. Predictions are he could go in the second or third round.

Any ideas?


Thursday, March 18, 2010


Departed backup quarterback David Carr left a very classy message to the fans through Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon's Twitter account. Here it is.

@giantspathanlon Just wanted to say Thank You to all Giants Players, Staff and Fans for making my 2 years in NY truly the most enjoyable years of my career thus far, I look forward to great things with the Niners and hope to build on the eperiences I had in NY that being said my family and I are Very Blessed to have spent the past 2 years with such an amazing group of people in one of the Greatest cities in the World, Thank You DC


New Punter

The Giants signed a punter today, and his name wasn't Jeff Feagles. But the ancient Feagles may yet find himself in a Giants uniform again, anyway.

The new guy, Jy Bond, is an Australian Rules player who is not expected to be the 44-year-old Feagles' replacement, but most likely an extra leg in training camp so Feagles doesn't kick himself out heading into his 23rd season.

Feagles remains an unrestricted free agent, but said talks are on-going. And no, he wasn't angry about his team signing the former Dolphin, who was cut before last year's training camp. The 30-year-old Bond has been training with fellow Australian Rules player Darren Bennett in hopes of sticking with a team this year.

But that won't happen if Feagles has anything to say about it. But he needs to lock down a contract first.

"Oh yeah, and there’s no rush at this point," Feagles said. "They’ve got other priorities right now and we’re trying to get some things worked out. It’s no big deal."

Feagles has no plans of going quietly into retirement, either.

"One day I’ll tell you that (I’m planning to retire)," Feagles said. "But not today."


On Commenting

I heard your complaints about how difficult it was to comment on this blog, and I changed a setting from embedded comment to pop-up window, as per a problems blog I found. One other solution involved using Internet Explorer only, and not Firefox or Safari or Google Chrome.

See if that works. Send me a few comments here and tell me if there's any change.


Dockery In St. Loo

Guess Spags wants to get the old gang back together.

First, he picked up Fred Robbins, an unrestricted free agent. Now comes news at cornerback Kevin Dockery, who would have been a restricted guy had the Giants offered him even the lowest level tender, is visiting there today.

Do wonder what took Spagnuolo so long, since he can sign Dockery without compensation. Maybe he saw what little film existed of him last year and needed some convincing. The Giants reportedly let him go into the market, with no intentions of trying to re-sign him, because of personal as well as on-field issues.


Had To Pull Out

Here's something from NFL Draft Scout detailing the problems Tennessee safety Eric Berry had in his Pro Day yesterday. I put it up because his name has been mentioned prominently on this blog as a desired draft pick, even though some analysts indicate he could go as high as No. 2. He's rated the top defensive back in the draft, but the sprained big toe he suffered yesterday might cause some teams to take a closer look at him.

Here's the report:

Eric Berry's day ended early. The two-time All-America strong safety bowed out during his first drill after he stepped into a soft spot on the Vols' indoor practice field and tweaked his left big toe. Berry, who opted to turn pro after being told by (Lane) Kiffin that he was ready, said he would have continued if it had been a game situation. "We talked about it and the trainers said I should shut it down," he said. "A lot of scouts came out here to see me and I wanted to show them that the combine was no fluke." Berry appears to have nothing to prove at this point. Mock drafts across the board all have him going in the top 10, with a couple saying he could get popped as high as the second overall pick by Detroit. But being a fierce competitor, Berry is already looking forward to a private workout he'll hold in the remaining weeks before the draft. "As much as they like to analyze things," he said of NFL executives and scouts, "I have to show them again at some point. I'll show them and get back on the field."

Berry ran a 4.40 40 and bench-pressed 19 reps at 225 pounds at the Combine.


One More Change

We talked about the proposed rule change for overtime in the playoffs and Super Bowl yesterday. But the Competition Committee will also suggest several other alterations, including one that was directly prompted by an incident involving the Giants and Cowboys.

It will be commonly called the "Flozell Adams Rule," thereby giving the Cowboys some kind of world record for having rules named after their players. There's already a Roy Williams rule that punishes his signature horse collar tackle. This one will allow a dead-ball foul to carry over from one half to the other.

If you remember, as first half of the Giants' 31-24 win on Dec. 6 ended, the two teams had a sideline skirmish caused by Flozell Adams pushing Justin Tuck in the back. The deed went unpunished because a foul in the first half could not carry over. This rule would make it possible for the officials to assess a penalty on the second-half kickoff.

The same applies for carrying over a fourth-quarter penalty into overtime.

I wouldn't mind seeing another "Flozell Adams" rule. You trip a guy intentionally and injury his left shoulder, the fouled player gets to take a hammer and hurt your left shoulder. Bet Tuck would like that.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Veteran Movement

The NFL labor site reported that more unrestricted free agents with six years of experience and up have signed contracts in the first 12 days of free agency this year than in any other year since the CBA was extended in 2006.

Here's the breakdown.

2010 – 64
2009 – 51
2008 – 44
2007 – 55
2006 – 50

I say, big deal. Not having the fourth and fifth-year guys in open market reduced the talent pool, thus giving teams fewer options. If the younger guys were in the pool, I doubt there would have been such growth.

By the way, the expected explosion of offer sheets for restricted free agents hasn't happened, at least not yet. By my count -- and I could be missing one, maybe two -- but only one restricted guy has been given an offer sheet. New Orleans reserve running back Mike Bell got one from the Eagles, which the Saints are now mulling.

So much for the wild, out of control spending of the uncapped season.


Overtime Issues

As the NFL mulls some potential changes to the playoff overtime format, here are some overtime numbers the league just put out. Rich McKay, chairman for the league's Competition Committee, outlined the change he said the committee will recommend to the owners at their meeting next week.

"We will propose a rule on the modification of the sudden death procedure in overtime," McKay said. "We will say that we would like to have it where there would be an opportunity to possess in the event the first team with the ball does not score a touchdown."

In other words, score a touchdown on the first possession and the game ends. Kick a field goal and the other team gets a shot. If the opponent kicks a field goal to tie, then the game would go into pure sudden death and the next score wins.

McKay said the proposed change was spurred by an acceleration, starting in 1994, of overtime coin-toss winners going on to win the game. Not necessarily on the first possession, mind you. But that number, too, has risen to 34 percent as opposed to 25 percent before 1994.

What had started as a 50-50 proposition from 1974-93 now, due in large part to the evolution of the kicking game, favored the toss winner more than 59 percent of the time.

"Now the numbers have changed pretty dramatically," McKay said. "Now the team that wins the toss wins 59.8% and the team that loses the toss wins 38.5%. The pros of the switch is it tries to rebalance the advantage that's been gained since '94 based on field goal accuracy being greatly improved, field position being improved."

Keep in mind that they're only talking about this change in terms of the playoffs and Super Bowl right now. McKay said the committee won't recommend the change for the regular season because it's reluctant to put more snaps into an already long game.

Here are some overtime stats the league put out. I have to say I was shocked by the percentage of games between 1994 and 2009 where teams had at least one overtime possession each; 65.6 percent. It always seemed to me that the first team with the ball usually won right away.


There have been 445 overtime games in regular-season play since the rule was adopted in 1974 (13 in 2009 season). Breakdown follows:

RESULTS FROM 1974-2009:

445 (13) regular-season overtime games
240 (7) times the team which won the toss won the game (53.9%)
188 (6) times the team which lost the toss won the game (42.2%)
17 (0) games ended tied (3.8%). Last time: Nov. 16, 2008, Philadelphia 13 at
Cincinnati 13.


310 (8) times both teams had at least one possession (69.7%)
135 (5) times the team which won the toss drove for winning score (100 FG, 35 TD) (30.3%)

SCORING FROM 1974-2009:

312 (11) games were decided by a field goal (70.1%)
114 (2) games were decided by a touchdown (25.6%)
2 (0) games were decided by a safety (0.45%)
17 (0) games ended tied (3.8%). Last time: Nov. 16, 2008, Philadelphia 13 at
Cincinnati 13.

Of the 445 overtime games, there were 13 miscellaneous situations in which non-standard possessions took place:
9 (0) times the defense or special teams won without registering an official possession (5 INT, 2 blocked punts, 1 FR, 1 blocked FG) (2.0%)
1 (0) times the special teams forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and drove for winning score (0.23%)
1 (0) times the punting team recovered a muffed punt and drove for winning score with team muffing punt having no official possessions (0.23%)
2 (0) times the team that won the toss elected to kick and the team receiving the ball drove for winning score (0.45%)

RESULTS FROM 1974-1993:

201 regular-season overtime games
94 times the team which won the toss won the game (46.8%)
94 times the team which lost the toss won the game (46.8%)
13 games ended tied (6.5%)


150 times both teams had at least one possession (74.6%)
51* times the team which won the toss drove for winning score (36* FG, 15 TD) (25.4%)
* In addition, one team each in 1998 and 2002 lost the toss but had the first possession in overtime and won the game by a field goal on that possession.

SCORING FROM 1974-1993:

135 games were decided by a field goal (67.2%)
52 games were decided by a touchdown (25.9%)
1 game was decided by a safety (0.5%)
13 games ended tied (6.5%)


RESULTS FROM 1994-2009:

244 regular-season overtime games
146 times the team which won the toss won the game (59.8%)
94 times the team which lost the toss won the game (38.5%)
4 games ended tied (1.6%)


160 times both teams had at least one possession (65.6%)
84 times the team which won the toss drove for winning score (64 FG, 20 TD) (34.4%)

SCORING FROM 1994-2009:

177 games were decided by a field goal (72.5%)
62 games were decided by a touchdown (25.4%)
1 game was decided by a safety (0.4%)
4 games ended tied (1.6%)



436 (13) times the team which won the toss elected to receive (98.0%)
9 (0) times the team which won the toss elected to kick off (4 wins) (2.0%)

Note: The number in parentheses is the 2009 Season Total.



There have been 27 overtime postseason games dating back to 1958. In 22 cases, both teams had at least one possession.

Overtime Games – 2009

*indicates Monday-night game
#indicates Thursday/Saturday/Sunday-night game
+indicates Thanksgiving Day game

# Sept. 10, 2009 – Pittsburgh 13, Tennessee 10, at Pittsburgh; Steelers win toss. Logan returns kickoff 20 yards. Drive begins at Steelers 22. Reed kicks 33-yard field goal at 4:32.

Oct. 4, 2009 – Cincinnati 23, Cleveland 20, at Cleveland; Bengals win toss. Scott returns kickoff 28 yards. Drive begins on Bengals 30. Drive ends on Bengals 42. Huber punts 41 yards out of bounds. Drive begins on Browns 17. Drive ends on Browns 21. Zastudil punts 55 yards. Drive begins at Bengals 24. Drive ends at Bengals 41. Huber punts 43 yards. Drive begins on Browns 16. Drive ends on Browns 27. Zastudil punts 58 yards. Cosby returns punt 10 yards. Drive begins at Bengals 25. Drive ends at Bengals 31. Huber punts 49 yards. Cribbs returns 11 yards. Drive begins on Browns 31. Drive ends on Browns 49. Zastudil punts 51 yards to end zone. Drive begins on Bengals 20. Graham kicks 31-yard field goal at 14:53.

Oct. 11, 2009 – Dallas 26, Kansas City 20, at Kansas City; Chiefs win toss. Charles returns kickoff 19 yards. Drive begins on Chiefs 27. Drive ends on Chiefs 46. Colquitt punts 38 yards. Fair catch. Drive begins on Cowboys 16. Drive ends on Cowboys 17. McBriar punts 41 yards. Wade returns 7 yards. Drive begins on Chiefs 49. Drive ends at midfield. Colquitt punts 29 yards. Fair catch. Drive begins on Cowboys 21. Tony Romo completes 60-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin at 6:27.

Oct. 11, 2009 – Denver 20, New England 17, at Denver; Broncos win toss. Touchback. Drive begins on Broncos 20. Prater kicks 41-yard field goal at 4:45.

Oct. 18, 2009 – Jacksonville 23, St. Louis 20, at Jacksonville; Jaguars win the toss. Touchback. Drive begins on Jaguars 20. Scobee kicks 36-yard field goal at 6:56.

Oct. 18, 2009 – Buffalo 16, N.Y. Jets 13, at N.Y. Jets; Jets win toss. Washington returns kickoff 27 yards. Drive begins on Jets 29. Drive ends on Bills 32 as botched snap on attempted field goal results in interception by Wendling. Drive starts on Bills 35. Drive ends on Bills 38. Moorman punts 45 yards. Leonhard returns -2 yards (holding penalty on Jets). Drive starts at Jets 8. Drive ends at Jets 12. Weatherford punts 43 yards. Fair catch. Drive starts at Bills 45. Lowery intercepts Fitzpatrick’s pass at Bills 47 (no return). Drive starts at Bills 47. Posluszny intercepts Sanchez’s pass at Bills 39 and returns 3 yards. Drive starts at Bills 42. Lindell kicks 47-yard field goal at 12:11.

November 22, 2009 – N.Y. Giants 34, Atlanta Falcons 31, at N.Y. Giants; Giants win toss. Hixon returns kickoff 33 yards. Drive begins on Giants 34. Tynes kicks 36-yard field goal at 3:49.

November 22, 2009 – Kansas City Chiefs 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 24, at Kansas City; Steelers win toss. Touchback. Drive begins on Steelers 20. Drive ends on Kansas City 38. Sepulveda punts 38 yards to end zone. Touchback. Drive begins on Chiefs 20. Succop kicks 22-yard field goal at 7:32.

# November 29, 2009 – Baltimore Ravens 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 17, at Baltimore; Steelers win toss. Logan returns 17 yards. Drive begins on Steelers 23. Drive ends on Steelers 37. Sepulveda punts 46 yards. Out of bounds. Drive begins on Ravens 17. Drive ends on Ravens 17. Koch punts 38 yards. Fair catch. Drive begins on Steelers 45. Kruger intercepts Dixon’s pass at Ravens 46 and returns 28 yards. Drive begins on Steelers 28. Cundiff kicks 29-yard field goal at 7:35.

December 6, 2009 – New Orleans Saints 33, Washington Redskins 30, at Washington; Redskins win toss. Thomas returns kickoff 23 yards. Drive begins on Redskins 20. McAlister recovers fumble by Sellers (no return). Drive begins on Redskins 37. Hartley kicks 18-yard field goal at 6:20.

December 20, 2009 – Tennessee Titans 27, Miami Dolphins 24, at Tennessee; Dolphins win toss. Ginn returns kickoff 23 yards. Drive begins on Dolphins 23. M. Griffin intercepts Henne’s pass at Dolphins 45 and returns 3 yards. Dolphins’ Camarillo penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. Drive begins on Dolphins 27. Bironas kicks 46-yard field goal at 3:36.

December 27, 2009 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, New Orleans Saints 17, at New Orleans; Buccaneers win toss. Spurlock returns kick 19 yards. Drive begins at Buccaneers 23. Barth kicks 47-yard field goal at 6:54.

* December 28, 2009 –, Chicago Bears 36, Minnesota Vikings 30, at Chicago; Bears win toss. E. Bennett returns kick 22 yards. Drive begins at Bears 32. Drive ends on Vikings 35 as Gould missed 45-yard field goal attempt. Drive begins on Vikings 35. Drive ends at Vikings 21. Kluwe punts 43 yards to Bears 36. No return. Drive begins on Bears 36. Drive ends on Bears 39. Maynard punts 47 yards to Vikings 14. Reynaud returns 3 yards. Drive begins on Vikings 17. Peterson fumbles, Bears recover. Drive begins on Vikings 39. Cutler passes deep right to D. Aromashodu for 39 yards and touchdown at 5:39.


Jan. 10, 2009 – Arizona Cardinals 51, Green Bay Packers 45, at Arizona in Wild Card Playoffs; Packers win toss. Touchback. Rodgers is sacked and fumbles, recovered by Dansby for 17-yard touchdown at 1:18.

Jan. 24, 2009 – New Orleans Saints 31, Minnesota Vikings 28, at New Orleans in NFC Championship; Saints win toss. Thomas returns kick 40 yards. Drive begins at Saints 39. Hartley kicks 40-yard field goal at 4:45.


Bad Timing

Looks like Brandon Spikes bombed out in the 40, living up to his speed-challenged rep. He reportedly clocked a 5.01, but I suspect that's just an estimation because a cloud covered the sundial as he approached the finish line.

Too cruel? Sorry. But such a time could, indeed, affect his draft standing. Could well drop him to second or even third-round status.

Florida cornerback Joe Haden did well, though, and the Giants appear interested in him. At least one report had him talking with a Giants scout as he warmed up for his 40, which he covered in 4.45 despite a rain-dampened track.


Southern Exposure

A lot of the Giants staff undoubtedly are down south today watching 15 Gators participate in Florida's Pro Day. Of special interest here will be the presence of middle linbacker prospect Brandon Spikes, who most scouting services rank right up there with Alabama's Rolando McClain.

Spikes, one of only three linebackers since 1996 to return four interceptions for touchdowns, and has an obvious mean streak. He demonstrated that when he was suspended for the first half of the Vanderbilt game after trying to gouge the eyes of Georgia running back Washaun Ealey.

The scouts will probably most like to see that 40 time, as Spikes is not known for his footspeed. The last thing the Giants need is a slow middle linebacker in coverage. They've had that. Didn't work.

He didn't run, bench, or do the shuttles at the combine.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another Memory

Ron Lundy died, another adolescent memory gone.

Used to listen to him and Dan Ingram and Harry Harrison as a teenager on WABC playing Beatles, Beach Boys, whatever. Plugged him in at night on the old transistor and went to sleep, then woke up to them in the morning. Good times.

Chime in, all you oldsters out there.


Another Issue

Here's something I hadn't thought about during all the nonsensical hubub over commissioner Roger Goodell's coin toss Friday that will allow the Giants to play the first regular-season game in the new stadium.

Will Woody Johnson's outrage over its secrecy, capped by an angry statement issued last night, put in jeopardy Goodell's support for the new Meadowlands Stadium hosting the 2014 Super Bowl? Commissioners tend to take criticism personally, especially when an owner essentially accuses him of rigging the process.

"An NFL coin toss has a few fundamental elements that are missing here, most notably the presence of the teams involved," he said in a statement released by the team last night. "That's how it's always done in the League, whether it’s determining the order of the draft or deciding who’s going to kick off the game.

"When the issue of which team would be hosting the first regular season game could not be resolved on the merits, I suggested a coin toss as the fairest way to resolve this issue. The League rejected that idea. Then, I was told on Friday that a coin toss had taken place at the League office and that the Jets had lost. We rejected a process in which neither team was present. The League departed from our time-honored tradition and declined the opportunity to set the matter straight with a transparent process."

Here's Gary Myers' take on it. Now, Gary and I don't agree a lot of the time, but he does have a point. Woody might have gotten himself -- maybe both organizations -- in a heap of trouble here. At the very least, Goodell should probably call him in and say, "Woody, you got some 'splainin' to do!"

What do you guys think? And when you're doing your own 'splainin', let's remember to keep families and other noncombatants out of it, okay?


Monday, March 15, 2010

Offseason Story

Here's the story from on the beginning of the offseason program.

Pretty standard stuff. I'd like to know whether Osi Umenyiora showed up, considering his constant yapping during Super Bowl week about wanting to know his future status as a starter. I'll try to find out.


Here's the NFL's Take

Just got word out of the NFL offices as to how the coin flip went and who will open the new Meadowlands Stadium. Actually, both the Jets and Giants will.

The Giants will have the official opening on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 12, and the Jets will open ESPN's Monday Night schedule the next evening. That will mark the first time the two teams opened the season at home on the same weekend since 1991.

How did the league decide that? Well, there indeed was a coin flip, according to the press release. That was held Friday afternoon.

"Commissioner Goodell noted that both the Giants and Jets ownership felt passionately for their fans about being the first to play at home on the opening weekend of the regular season and could not agree on how to resolve the issue, including whether to conduct a coin flip," the spokesman explained. "The commissioner said that, since both teams presented good reasons for playing first, he concluded that the fairest resolution would be to play both teams at home on the opening weekend and to make his decision on which team plays on Sunday by flipping a coin.

"The commissioner flipped the coin last Friday with his staff at the NFL office. He then notified both teams on Friday of his decision and that he flipped a coin to determine the team playing on Sunday."

That indicates there were no representatives from either team present, which makes Jets owner Woody Johnson's reported flip-out over the flip's secrecy a bit, well, flipped out.

The Jets will host the first preseason game at the new stadium in August.

"We look forward to playing the first regular season game ever in the new stadium," a Giants spokesman said. "We have a great new home, and it's right next door to Giants Stadium, a building that housed our three Super Bowl championship teams. We look forward to building the same legacy for our new stadium, and it starts on September 12."

Guess you can count that as a thinly-veiled "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" to old Woody.

Perhaps now we can mercifully put this issue to rest.


Alumni Gaining Ground

Out of the NFLPA meetings comes good news, at least where this bloggist is concerned. Houston Texans tackle Eric Winston said via Twitter that the players have opened two seats on its executive committee, to be filled by former players.

None of that will settle the current problems in getting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in time to avert a 2011 lockout, of course. But it does take some steps to solve something we've been pretty passionate about for years -- that the retired players who helped build the NFL into what it is now need more help than what they're getting from their former representatives.

What the players have done is take a step away from the mere lip service the retired guys got. Worse yet, they've removed themselves eons from the late Gene Upshaw's cynical proclamation just a couple of years ago that he worked for the current, active players, not the retired guys.

There's still a lot of work ahead in this respect. A lot of former players are shuffling and scuffling along on bad knees -- look at Earl Campbell -- and scrambled brains -- see the toll numerous concussions took on New England linebacker Ted Johnson. A lot of them need financial help, or at least better coverage for ongoing medical costs.

Having a couple of the retired guys involved in the real decision-making process is a good start.


Ware Signs

According to Pro Football Talk, DJ Ware signed his one-year tender today.

No biggie. Ware wasn't going anywhere, considering he was an exclusive rights free agent who was not allowed to negotiate with other teams.


Just An Opinion

Just throwing out my opinion on this coin-toss thing, but the after taking a day to think about it I believe the Giants rightly should have opened the stadium, anyway.

Look at it this way. Not only have the Giants been around since 1925, giving them 35 years of football seniority over the Jets, but the very nature of their stadium partnership favors the Giants. Yes, the cost is split 50-50, but the idea for the stadium was put into motion well before the Jets ever took up the Giants' invitation to join them. And that happened only because the Jets' plans for the West Side stadium project in Manhattan blew up.

In other words, the Jets continue to ride behind the Giants. They may be equal partners as far as finances go, but the Giants were there first on all accounts. So, the right to open the new stadium's history should go to the Giants.

This whole coin-flip situation was unnecessary. If there even was a flip, that is. Still have no official word that it ever occurred.


Difficult Stuff

As usual, all matters involving the Giants and Jets is difficult. Kind of like a sibling rivarly.

So now comes word, via the Daily News, that the coin toss to determine who will open the regular season in the new Meadowlands Stadium has been held, in secret, and the Giants won. And the Jets are raising a stink because no Jets representative was there.

Meanwhile, the NFL hasn't publicly confirmed there was such a toss.

Sounds like a lot of anguish over an event that won't even be remembered by Week 5. But we'll keep an eye on things, anyway, because that's what we do.


They're Back

The Giants' offseason conditioning program started today.

Yeah, okay. It's not like spring training, where people get all warm and fuzzy over the approach of baseball season. But it has become a rather important part of the football season. It's a chance for new faces like free agent safety Antrel Rolle, to work in a somewhat relaxed atmosphere with his new teammates. And once the Organized Team Activity (OTA) sessions begin, the team will be able to work as a unit under the guidance of the coaches.

It's really amazing how much these things have grown. When they first started in the early '90s, the program's volunteer aspect was just that. Volunteer. Maybe 20 guys who lived in the area would show up regularly.

Oh, there might be subtle repercussions for a player coming off a so-so year who didn't show up. I remember when one wide receiver failed to show consistently for Dan Reeves' program in 1993. He wound up on the bottom of the depth chart come training camp and never moved up. But those instances were rare.

Now, a coach can count on all but one or two killjoys (Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey?) to make at least the recommended 80 percent of the workouts. Offseason contract bonuses have a lot to do with that. But a lot of players, too, see this as the first of several bonding exercises.

So the process of putting last year's 8-8 record well into the past has begun.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flipping Out

Having one brand spanking new stadium between them won't ordinarily be a problem for the Giants and Jets. Except when it comes to playing its inaugural regular-season game.

They both want the honor of "opening" the stadium. They both made strenuous cases to the NFL. But in the end, and I guess this is the fairest way to go about things, the matter will be decided by a coin flip.

They'll do it at the stadium, probably at midfield, this week. And they might just invite fans of both teams to cheer, boo, maybe create a favorable wind current either way.

We'll flip you some details when they come out.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Good Story On Ross

Ralph V. tracked down Aaron Ross and his wife on their honeymoon in the Middle East, and came up with some pretty good stuff. Give it a read.

He also mentioned that Brandon Jacobs, recovering from a knee scope, will not be in attendance when the voluntary offseason conditioning program starts Monday, but only because his wife is due to give birth to his son today. And Kenny Phillips will split his time between the program and Miami, where he will continue his rehab of microfracture knee surgery.

The rest of the guys are expected to show up, even though the program is technically voluntary. But just ask Eli Manning how he felt about former teammates Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress blowing it off every year in favor of training in Miami.

He wasn't happy.


Poker Faces

Just got finished reading a book called "Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker" by James McManus.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I do know how to read. Moving on.

Very interesting stuff. The 2009 tome traces not only the history of the game, but ties its strategy and techniques to much of what we do as Americans, from finance, to foreign affairs, to the way we fight wars. Basically, he makes a point that poker is intrinsically tied to the American DNA.

So how does this relate to this blog? Well, I was quite surprised to see in the closing pages that McManus referenced the NFL draft. Now, we've all been around this annual bluff-fest long enough to know how much smoke-screening, misinformation, silence, and outright lying goes on in the weeks before the draft. But this passage, to me, simply reinforced that no matter what we here about any prospect or team plans over the next six weeks should be taken with, oh, about a pound and a half of salt.

Here's what McManus wrote.

"According to a USA Today cover story, 'the World Series of Poker has nothing on the NFL Draft. As the league's 32 teams have nitpicked hundreds of college players eligible for the draft in New York City, many of the teams have also jockeyed for an edge by trying to conceal their true intentions.' The story notes that the weeks before the draft 'are filled with misinformation campaigns, media leaks, and smokescreens as teams play what amounts to a high-stakes game of bluffing.'"

McManus goes on to outline how a team might talk a player down publicly, perhaps floating a story about a failed drug test or, as the Giants did with Aaron Ross in 2007, bringing in a flock of other draft candidates for private visits, but leaving him conspicously uninvited.

"The bluffing team's goal," McManus wrote, "is to downplay the value of a player they covet so that a team picking earlier doesn't draft him. The other team's job is to suss out that player's actual market value...'Every head coach, every GM, everyone involved with every team right now is playing poker,' according to Kansas City Chiefs coach (and now ESPN analyst) Herm Edwards. 'Whatever someone says, it's about half-true. That's the way the game is played.'"

Of course, we all knew that. It's just fun to see it written in a different context.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Money, Money, Muhhhh-nnneeyyy

No one was interested in Bruce Johnson during the draft, so the Giants signed him at rock-bottom prices as a college free agent. He eventually rose through the depth chart, past Kevin Dockery, to become the Giants' nickelback as injuries thinned out the secondary.

Now it has become apparent that Johnson earned more than his salary. According to the NFLPA, Johnson was the Giants' leader in Performance-Based Pay, a mechanism that rewards the lower-paid players based on playing time. Johnson, who earned a rookie salary of $310,000, made himself an extra $270,766. Safety Michael Johnson got the second-largest bump at $235,445, and Kevin Boss was third with $221,100.

If you ask me, Boss should have received a few cents extra for combat pay, given all the punishment he took.

Terrell Thomas ($207,125) and Aaron Rouse ($193,596) were next on the list.


Note Of Interest

When the free agent signing period started last Friday, one of the big questions involved player movement in the uncapped year.

Well, according to the NFL's labor site, something interesting has happened. More unrestricted free agents with six or more seasons of experience have signed contracts through the first week of free agency this year than last year. But fewer have moved teams.

That tells me that the best offers they're generally getting are from their own teams, and that in most cases there hasn't been the anticipated bidding wars that might have been expected.

The site's table has 52 UFA's signing through the first week of action this year, as opposed to 39 six-year vets last year. The table doesn't account for any four or five-year veterans, since this uncapped year rendered restricted the younger players that previously would have qualified as unrestricted. A separate note, though, indicated that if four and five-year restricteds who have signed their tenders were added, the number would jump to 87.

This year, 21 UFAs switched clubs, as opposed to 22 last year. Thirty-one have signed with their original clubs, as opposed to 17 last year.

The position this year drawing most of the early interest is wide receiver, where eight have signed. That number should rise, too, now that Hank Baskett has gone back to Philadelphia and Terrell Owens is still hunting around for a major deal.

Last year, it was linebacker with six signings.

The Giants, by the way, figure into the equation only by losing two UFAs, Fred Robbins to St. Louis and David Carr to San Francisco. Both signings, Antrel Rolle and Jim Sorgi, were cut by Arizona and Indianapolis, respectively, and therefore are not technically UFAs.

CORRECTION: Misread the chart. Actually, the number of unrestricteds in the first week of 2009 jumps from 39 to 87 when the four and five-year veterans are added, not the tendered unrestricteds from this year as previously mentioned. Management regrets the error, and will now enroll in a course that emphasizes the interpretation of numerical tables.


More On McClain

Here's a little more on the news that Alabama MLB Rolando McClain suffers from Crohn's Disease, a painful affliction of the intestine that often manifests itself in rapid weight loss.

According to a report today in the Birmingham News, Eagles player personnel consultant Phil Savage, the former GM of the Browns, said the unexpected news McClain let out at his Pro Day Wednesday shouldn't affect his draft status. Savage predicts he'll go between the 10th and 20th pick, though he regarded the news as "at least a little (bombshell)."

"I was not aware of it," Savage said.

But then he continued.

"The good news is that he hasn't missed any practice time or games," said Savage. "It seems like it has been regulated well. "I don't think it'll affect his draft status."


Surface Battle

We're not talking WWII detroyer battles here. It's the debate on playing surfaces that has rages since the inception of astroturf way back when.

The newest target is FieldTurf, and the newest argument has a recent study indicating that the incidence of ACL injuries and ankle sprains rise significantly when teams use FieldTurf, which was supposedly more player-friendly. Here's the Associated Press article on the study and opposing viewpoints.

It's a legitimate concern here because the Giants use FieldTurf. It's in the TPC fieldhouse. It was in the old Giants Stadium. It'll be used in the new Meadowlands Stadium. The issue kind of makes one think about the injuries the Giants had this year -- about Ahmad Bradshaw's twin ankle sprains and Brandon Jacobs' knee problems, and Kenny Phillips' arthritic knee. Though neither Jacobs' nor Phillips' probblems involved the ACL.

It should be noted that both sides agree that more study is needed before a concrete conclusion is reached about FieldTurf's safety. But one thing is a certainty among players. They'd much prefer good old grass to any of the artificial stuff. Their top four fields in this year's NFLPA survey of best fields? Arizona, San Diego, Tampa, and Carolina -- all grass. Four of the next six, however, were FieldTurf surfaces.


A Quick Aside

Just a slight diversion here from the business of football to show the heart of football as personified by tight end Kevin Boss.

Say what you will about him as a player -- I happen to love the guy for his smarts and toughness, but a lot of folks on this blog think he's overrated. Fair enough. But the guy really "gets it" off the field, and that's a nice thing.

Sometimes, it's the little things.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Morrison A Possibility?

Oakland's middle linebacker, Kirk Morrison, told Sirius Radio hosts Adam Schein and Solomon Wilcots today that several teams are interested in the restricted free agent, but left it up to the imagination as to who they might be.

Hmmm. Going out on a limb here, but perhaps the Giants are one of them. It would only cost them a third-round pick if Oakland rejected their offer sheet, and middle linebacker is a rather gaping need for them.

Still, according to Mikey G., Morrison's agent, Bruce Tollner, said there's no news on that front as of today. That could all change in a heartbeat, of course. And Morrison, a five-year starter on a horrible team, would love nothing better than to head off to an organization that at least has winning potential.

"I'm technically an Oakland Raider still. That's No. 1," Morrison said. "But at the same time, you have to explore your options for the future, for the long term. There are some teams out there that would be a good fit, I feel like. But we just have to wait and see.

"The biggest thing is I just want to go out and win. Get into a situation that puts you in the best opportunity to win football games. Being in this league for five years already and losing more games than you win week in and week out, it's hard to play at the kind of level that you want to being on the losing end. But you never give up your effort, you never give up who you are as a football player."

Let's see. The run-stopper could go from 20-60 to a team that's 30-18 over the last three seasons, the first of which produced a Super Bowl title. Yeah, that might work.

"There are some teams we're looking at and we've talked to," Morrison said. "Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks we can get something done ... either with the Raiders or with other teams. I know next year I'm going to be playing football. I just want to make sure I'm in the best, most comfortable position I can be in."

Doesn't seem like he'd make a bad fit here. And he'd certainly be a step up from a still-raw Jonathan Goff or leaving the spot to a rookie draft pick. We'll of course keep an eye on this one.


Another Piece Gone

Well, another piece of my younger days is gone.

Merlin Olsen, who I first remembered as an All-Pro defensive tackle on the Rams' Fearsome Foursome with Deacon Jones, and later on the TV show Father Murphy, was easily one of the best color guys in the announcing business. He and Dick Enberg formed a formidable team in the 80s, and I always enjoyed listening to their calls.

Smart, savvy guy with a great voice. And for a guy that starred on such violent a line, he always seemed a gentleman.

He was 69.


"Spill" It

According to the Clemson University website, the Giants are one of the teams that will spend a lot of time around running back C.J. Spiller at his Pro Day today.

He's another guy who has garnered much attention on this blog, though I think it would be a reach to draft a running back in the first round given an already-crowded backfield. But the idea does have some merit.

Spiller was the only college player to score a touchdown in every game last year, finishing with 21. And he went into his senior season as Clemson's recordholder in all-purpose yardage, a mark he upped by 1,212 rushing and 503 receiving yards.

He's coming off a hamstring injury, and there are questions about whether the 5-11, 196-pound can hold up in the NFL. Heaven knows, the Giants don't need another fragile running back to go along with often-injured Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. But if he stays healthy, he could be a Reggie Bush-type weapon.


UPDATE: According to NFL Draft Scout, Spiller chose not to run today, preferring instead to sit on his combine time of 4.37. His decision shouldn't hurt his draft positioning, though.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

McClain's Pro Day Report

Here's the report from NFL Draft Scout on Alabama LB's Rolando McClain's illness-shortened Pro Day workout, via Don Kausler, Jr. of the Birmingham News. Interesting that he revealed he suffers from Crohn's Disease, a painful inflammation of the intestines.

Linebacker Rolando McClain ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, but when running an agility drill, he became ill. He later disclosed that he has battled Crohn's Disease since his freshman year in high school. It's an inflammatory diseasse of the intestines. McClain said he treats it with medication. The junior All-American will perform two more times for pro teams in upcoming weeks and hopes to get his 40-yard dash time down to 4.5 seconds, to please himself, not the pros. McClain also disclosed that he has suffered from a hamstring injury since the Oct. 24 Tennessee game, and injury that his teammates did not know about. - Don Kausler Jr. - The Birmingham News

Wonder if the illness will make teams think twice about drafting him?


Pro Days

Not a whole lot happening on the free agent front, as far as I can tell. Part of that is due to Pro Day at Rutgers. Oh, yeah, and one other school of note has a Pro Day going, too. Little place called the University of Alabama. See what I did there?

Actually, most of the Giants' staff will be down in Tuscaloosa perusing the big-time talent, not the least of which is linebacker Rolando McClain. So this might be a good time to have a discussion on the relatives merits of McClain for a team that hasn't drafted a first-round linebacker since Carl Banks in 1984 and hasn't had much luck drafting them anywhere in recent years.

The scouts will be interested to see McClain run and jump, since he declined to participate in the 40-yard dash and vertical leap at the scouting combine because of a hamstring problem. When healthy, he's a supremely talented athlete, and the No. 15-drafting Giants staff undoubtedly will be taking copious notes to determine if he's worth trading deep into the top-10 to get.

Not that Pro Day performances are the be-all and end-all of the scouting process, but the Giants might just luck out. McClain has been caught in a performance vice, the doctors telling him to rest and rehab while the draft process is pushing him to perform. If he throws up a substandard 40 time, his stock might just drop ever so slightly enough that the Giants would be positioned to take him with a lesser trade than originally thought necessary.

"He’s as close as he’s going to get right now," McClain's agent, Pat Dye, told the Birmingham News yesterday. "It’s a Catch-22. The doctors are saying the only thing you can do for this thing is rest and rehab it. Well, he can’t rest because he’s got to train. "We’ve got to get through this Pro Day and probably a few private workouts and hopefully let it calm down and be ready for mini-camps after the draft."

The Great Blue North Report ranks the 6-foot-3, 254-pound McClain as the top middle linebacker prospect in the draft, right ahead of Florida's Brandon Spikes. And, almost needless to say, the idea of picking McClain has been a consistent theme among this blog's commenters. And, good news for them, two of the four CBS Sportsline's mock drafters have McClain falling to the Giants, while one other lists him as going no higher than 12 to Miami. The other one has him going at No. 5 to Kansas City.

Quite a range. But the fact that many believe McClain will fall to at least spitting distance of the Giants could make for an interesting first-round decision.

The Giants would not only get a guy with mobility and ball skills that have created favorable comparisons with Ravens Hall-of-Famer-in-waiting Ray Lewis, but a guy who could bring immediate leadership to a unit that faltered badly last year.

"I've been a leader," he said at the combine. "I had to lead seniors as a freshman. A lot of guys saw the way I worked and they admired the way I worked, so it really wasn't that hard. They admired me, so they actually listened."

At this point, it would be a shock if McClain got past the Giants. The question is, will he be there for them at all? Or might they try the free agent route as a remedy instead?


UPDATE: Word out of Alabama is that McClain ran a 4.74 in the 40, which is about what the scouts figured he'd run.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For Those Wondering...

why the Colts released Eli Manning's new backup, Jim Sorgi, in the first place, the reason could very well be financial.

Sorgi was due a $275,000 roster bonus the day he was cut. And he was due to make $1.08 million in 2010, which is quite a bit to pay for a backup who didn't throw a pass in 2009 and wound up on the IR anyway.

It's unlikely the Giants had to pay that much to get him, though the dollar amount of the one-year contract is unavailable right now.


Here's Jim

The Giants released some quotes from Jim Sorgi, who they said will now compete with second-year quarterback Rhett Bomar to be Eli Manning's backup. I think we all know how that competition should turn out, so let's assume Sorgi does what he's supposed to and wins the job.

That will make him a backup to his second Manning brother, having served as Peyton's caddy since the Colts made him their sixth-round pick in 2004.

"Both are elite players," said Sorgi. "I had a great time working with Peyton, and I learned a lot, obviously. The experience was invaluable as far as my development as a professional.

"I hate to see my time in Indianapolis come to an end, but I am as excited about working with Eli as I am sad about leaving Peyton, and I look forward to working with Eli and helping him any way I can. I have been fortunate to work with Peyton, who has one of the greatest minds in the game."

Tom Coughlin characterized Sorgi as sharp in the meeting room, an obvious function of working with arguably the greatest quarterback in the game today.

"Jim demonstrated in the meeting room with our coaches that he is very sharp and a very good student of the game, which you would expect after spending six years backing up Peyton," Coughlin said. "He is used to spending the amount of time that is necessary in preparation. He was involved in the study and preparation and everything that Peyton does, so he will be outstanding in the meeting room with Eli."

It's not like the Giants are counting on him to play extensively. At least, they'd better not. His career-high in games came in 2005, when he appeared in five contests and posted career-best totals with 42 completions on 61 attempts for 444 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for a 99.4 rating. Sorgi's career long completion is a 71-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne as a rookie in 2004.

He's played in a total of 16 games in six years.

Still, he should be sufficient to sit behind one of the most indestructable quarterbacks in the league.

Meanwhile, he'll work on keeping strong the tendinitis-afflicted shoulder that raised serious enough questions for the Giants to hold up the deal after a successful workout yesterday.

"I thought my workout was excellent and my shoulder felt great," said Sorgi. "I just need to continue to work on maintenance with it, but I want to be a player the Giants can count on to get the job done if need be. I am excited to be here."


Couldn't Wait

You know that previous post about the remaining backup quarterback field. No need to worry about it now. The Giants made a quick U-turn on the Jim Sorgi issue and moments ago signed him to a one-year deal to back up Eli Manning.

So much for issues about Sorgi's shoulder.

The Giants were apparently convinced through conversations with several doctors, reportedly including Dr. James Andrews, that the shoulder would be fine with proper rest.

So the Giants have their backup -- a guy that's just about as connected with the Manning family as Peyton and Eli's brother, Cooper -- since the guy will now go into his seventh season caddying for one of the professional brothers.


Backing It Up

Jim Sorgi is out of the picture for now. And let's assume for the moment that the NFL source that characterized the Giants' signing either Jeff Garcia or Mark Brunell as "highly doubtful" is correct. Well, the Giants do need that backup quarterback in case Eli Manning should, oh, say, bruise the plantar fascia in his heel or take the one big hit from which he can't get up.

So who's out there? Let's take a look at the field.

As for unrestricteds who won't cost a thing:

Jake Delhomme: He's a real good guy in the locker room, so much so that Carolina coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney both shed tears when they let him go. He can't do it anymore over the long term. But in a pinch, he's got big-game experience and some smarts. He'd come at a price far more reasonable than the monster deal that still owes him more than $12 million of guaranteed money. A personal favorite of mine. And the personal contrast between he and Manning -- Louisiana bayou vs. New Orleans Garden District -- would be a lot of fun.

Kyle Boller: After five years with the Ravens that included a fall from starter to Joey Flacco's backup, Boller drifted off to St. Louis last year. He appeared in seven games, started four, and had twice as many interceptions (six) as touchdowns (three). Of course, you'd hate to see him as a long-term starter. But he could get you by for a week or two.

Daunte Culpepper: Once an imposingly large figure who led a Vikings scoring machine, he's bounced around since 2006 from Miami, to Oakland, to Detroit. His knees are shot, he's 33 years old, and he hasn't thrown more touchdowns than interceptions since 2004. But he can still run a one-yard sneak up the middle on third-and-short.

Rex Grossman: Just threw him in there for comic effect. If the Giants ever picked up this career-long bust, there'd be blood in the streets. He somehow found a job with the Texans, and now the Redskins are interested in him. Better them than the Giants.

Joey Harrington: Another horrible, horrible failure as a starter, he proved nothing but locker room trouble with the Lions. Wasn't in football last year.

And here are a couple of restricted free agents to consider, but you'd have to give up compensation.

Tavaris Jackson: Might be worth a look, considering it would only cost the Giants a third-rounder. He's hardly a great quarterback, but he does have starting experience and he can run, which would make for a nice contrast to Manning. The Vikes can't even think about getting rid of him before Brett Favre decides whether or not he's going to play next year.

Kellen Clemens: The Jets would only receive a third-rounder for him. He's a solid enough guy to back up Manning. Heck, he caddied for a rookie in Mark Sanchez this year. Best of all, Giants save a couple of grand on relocation expenses.

Kyle Orton: Basically no shot. He's Denver's starter, and he'd bring a first-round pick in compensation.

Brody Croyle: He's the backup to Matt Cassel in Kansas City and received a second-round tender. Given his injury history, don't think he's worth the price.

Bruce Gradkowski: He started when JaMarcus Russell went down in flames, and now the Raiders want him around. He got a second-round tender, but let's face it, he's not what the Giants need. No big-game experience.

Matt Moore: Never happen. He's the Carolina starter now, and he's tendered at a first and third-round level.